The Diff is the Riff

In the beginning…

IFLAG was founded on the principle that amongst the feeding millions there must be at least a couple of gringos like me whose culinary Corazon knows no love greater than that of the cuisine of Mexico – the Original Mexico, stretching el Norte to Oregon.


Well, this hombre’s metaphorical heart, just as some prophetic poet waxed, has been ripped out by and sent on a journey around the world for good with last year’s arrival of the little buckaroo. Anywhere he goes so go I. The boy’s owns me like so many ex-Guvs’ Cook County Rolexes. And because this is I am more or less his father, I anyways owe to him a minimum of several thousand “HFS”s daily…and no, dearest CPS, I do not refer her to “Hos Fo Sho”. He hasn’t actually found the front door out. Mostly adventures happen here in Chicago, pops at the wheel to a soundtrack plucked on ukulele strings.



Don’t hate the game, hate the playa (as in Ice-T, not the beach – sorry Tyga.)

While nobody’s gonna hashtag me the Hendrix or Heifetz or Khorshid of the uke in this lifetime, my remedial musical skills somehow doubled down as this week’s muse.


Diga me: most pre-sampling popular songs can be realized on only three to four chords, quite often THE SAME THREE OR FOUR CHORDS. Across the decades I’ve listened to hundreds of thousands of songs and never really picked up on the profundity of this fact. What’s the diff? “The Riff”.


Uno, dos, one, two tres, quatro….

It should have been as obvious as the salsa on my sleeves, shoes, and son: Most Awesome Mexican-American dishes are made using THE SAME THREE TO FOUR (give or take a minor Aeolian augmented second note) ingredients. The Diff = The Riff.


Por lo tanto

Let us then riff on chicken, cheese, chile, beans, tomatoes, guac and tortillas (never to revisit this small beer metaphor again ever). These note’s I’ve riffed on pretty much every day since I heard the first three chords to “I Fought The Law” which is also “White Riot” and/or “Highway To Hell” which is also “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and/or “Bad Moon Rising” which is also “Blitzkrieg Bop” all of which sound amazing on the uke, as played by others.


The Main Ingredient


The Main Ingredients


The Power Chord: Greco-Roma Grilled Chicken Breasts

Marinade overnight in:

Trader Joe’s Olive Oil

Salt/Pepper/Mexican Oregano/Rosemary/Garlic Powder to taste

Pre-heat grill to 500-600. Grill five minutes a side, covered.

Major Chords

Tomato and/or salsa

Shredded cheddar  and/or smoked cheddar (from Tenuta’s in Kenosha)

Pinto beans (refried and caned or dry/boiled/salt & peppered)

Avocado and/or Guacamole

Roasted NM Green Chile and/or Roasted Jalapeno

Tortillas and/or Fritos

Minor Chords:

Roasted corn



The Hits

Thin Crust Smoked Cheddar Chicago-Style Mexican Pizza

Chic-Mex Thin Crust Pizza

Roasted Jalapeno/Chicken/Pinto/Cheese/Scallion/Heirloom tomato/upside-down Frito pie


Tacos Del Halsted con pollo y maize

Chi-mex taco

The Notorious B.I.G.

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